Politics Security Terrorism Uncategorized

UK Terrorism Minister

Admiral Sir Alan West has been appointed to the newly created Home Office post of Under-Secretary for Security, Counter-terrorism and Police of the United Kingdom.

The former First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff will need to be made a Life Peer in order for him to serve as a Minister in Gordon Brown’s government.

I’m bothered that we now have a former senior military officer in a post as a Government Minister without him ever having to be elected by the voters. He will however have a great deal more experience in matters of security to call on than his colleagues at the Home Office.

Security Terrorism Uncategorized

Seven British Al-Qaeda members jailed

BBC News: Al-Qaeda cell members imprisoned

Seven men have been jailed for up to 26 years over an al-Qaeda-linked plot to kill thousands in the UK and US.

Woolwich Crown Court heard they were in a “sleeper cell” led by Dhiren Barot, who is already serving a life sentence.

Barot planned attacks including an explosives-packed limousine, a dirty radiation bomb and blowing apart a London Underground tunnel.

Six admitted conspiracy to cause explosions and a seventh was found guilty of conspiracy to murder.

A rare piece of good news in the so called War on Terror with the police and presumably the Security Service, although they are not mentioned in the BBC article, preventing a cell of terrorists from carrying out an attack.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said

“The plans for a series of co-ordinated attacks in the United Kingdom included packing three limousines with gas cylinders and explosives before setting them off in underground car parks. This could have caused huge loss of life.

“The plans to set off a dirty bomb in this country would have caused fear, panic and widespread disruption.”

I’m always wary when I hear that plots involving dirty radiation bombs have been foiled because the use of the term “dirty bomb” seems to be a preferred method of the government’s for terrifying the British public when in fact the reality of the danger of such devices is far outweighed by the perceived danger.

This goes back to what I was saying yesterday about Walter Mitty like terrorist wannabes with outlandish unfeasible plots. Whilst in theory a “dirty bomb” is relatively simple to construct the construction and deployment of such a device in a manner that could kill a great number of people is a whole different ball game.

However in this case if the BBC article is accurate then the terrorist cell contained a wide range of skills and apparently enough expertise to carry out a devastating attack using conventional methods without the need for the movie plot device of a “dirty bomb”.

In the trial of Dhiren Barot, the ringleader of this cell, an expert testified that if the radiation (dirty bomb) project had been carried out, it would have been unlikely to cause deaths, but was designed to affect about 500 people.

Security Terrorism Uncategorized

Terrorist or idiot?

Bruce Schneier has written an excellent piece on how the actual dangers posed by terrorist plots often differs widely from the dangers portrayed by the media and governments, it is titled Portrait of the Modern Terrorist as an Idiot.

The recently publicized terrorist plot to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport, like so many of the terrorist plots over the past few years, is a study in alarmism and incompetence: on the part of the terrorists, our government and the press.

Terrorism is a real threat, and one that needs to be addressed by appropriate means. But allowing ourselves to be terrorized by wannabe terrorists and unrealistic plots — and worse, allowing our essential freedoms to be lost by using them as an excuse — is wrong.

These wannabe terrorists are often pathetic Walter Mitty type characters whose fantasies of martyrdom are undermined by their utter of competence and ability to carry out their ridiculous plots. The case of Russell Defreitas and his plot to blow up JFK airport is a good example.

It’s a plot straight from the disaster movie genre. Destroy New York’s major airport, its terminals, and even parts of the borough of Brooklyn in one dastardly explosion.

Unfortunately for the alleged plotters, the real life Jack Bauers (of 24 fame) were ahead of the ticking bomb. Not only was the idea outlandish and highly unlikely to succeed, but authorities have been recording the conversations of the plotters for the past 18 months.

– Did these men pose a threat? Undoubtedly.
– Could they have blown up JFK airport? It’s doubtful and in any case they were barely into the planning stage of the attack and had been under surveillance for a long time so whatever threat they posed could never be realised.

Politics Terrorism Uncategorized

Enhanced interrogation techniques: Fetch the comfy chair!

Reviews Security Terrorism TV

24: CTU security

Is it just me or does CTU LA seem to be the least secure Counter Terrorist facility on the planet. I’ve lost track now of how many times it has been successfully infiltrated or attacked it seems to have at least once a season if not more.

Hour 21 of Season 6 and it has happened again and been taken over by Chinese agents. Poor foolish Milo. This would never have happened had Bill Buchanan been left in charge!

Terrorism Uncategorized

57% – Favor National Identity Cards

Nearly six-in-ten adult Americans (57%) favor requiring all US citizens to carry a national identity card at all times. A new Pew poll also finds the same percentage favoring allowing airport personnel to do extra checks on passengers who appear to be of Middle Eastern descent. By contrast, there is much less support for the government monitoring personal communications and credit card purchases — especially when people are asked specifically about government monitoring of their personal calls and credit card purchases.

Politics Terrorism Uncategorized

‘There is no war on terror’

The Guardian: The director of public prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, put himself at odds with the home secretary and Downing Street last night by denying that Britain is caught up in a “war on terror” and calling for a “culture of legislative restraint” in passing laws to deal with terrorism.

The use of the term War on Terror only serves to justify in the minds of the terrorists that they really are waging a holy war rather than committing and conspiring to commit what are essentially criminal acts.

Politics Security Terrorism Uncategorized

Gordon Brown backs call to extend 28-day limit on detention

Our next Prime minister Gordon Brown backs call to extend 28-day limit on detention.

Terrorism Uncategorized

Iraqis hate al-Qaeda

Boston Herald Good news in the good fight, Iraqis hate al-Qaeda, too

Mike Lester, The Rome News-Tribune

NIE assessment

Excerpts: Declassified US terror report

Politics Terrorism Uncategorized

I don’t want to live in a police state

Prime minister Tony Blair in his valedictory speech to the Labour party conference declared

I don’t want to live in a police state, or a Big Brother society or put any of our essential freedoms in jeopardy. But because our idea of liberty is not keeping pace with change in reality, those freedoms are in jeopardy.

Those freedoms are in jeopardy from him and his government that are pushing through legislation that will create a Big Brother society. He went on to say

We can only protect liberty by making it relevant to the modern world.

That is why Identity Cards using biometric technology are not a breach of our basic rights, they are an essential part of responding to the reality of modern migration and protecting us against identity fraud.

I remember when I introduced the DNA database. On it go all those who are arrested. We were told it was a monstrous breach of liberty.

But it is now matching 3,000 offences a month including last year several hundred murders, and thousands of rapes and other violent offences.

The Identity Card system that the government wants to introduce really is the foundation of the Big Brother state that Blair says he doesn’t want to live in. I can only surmise that he intends to leave the UK once it has been implemented.